Flight cancellations in the USA: Exchange of accusations between the airlines and the authorities

US airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are blaming each other for the growing number of flight cancellations and delays, as millions prepare to travel over the weekend of July 4 which, according to the authorities, should be one of the busiest in three years. Airlines have faced staff shortages after travel demand rebounded faster than expected, despite government aid that barred them from laying off workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the pandemic has slowed down the training of air traffic controllers. These two factors made it difficult to manage routine issues like thunderstorms in the spring and summer, as Covid-19 infections continued to sideline employees and frustrate travelers. On Friday, Airlines for America, which represents the nation's largest airlines including Delta, American, United and Southwest, requested to meet with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to discuss air traffic controller staffing for the summer and other potential obstacles like space launches and military exercises. “The industry is actively and quickly doing everything possible to create a positive customer experience, as it is in an airline's inherent interest to keep customers happy, so that they return for future business. wrote Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, in the letter. US airlines have reduced their June-August schedules by 15% from their original plans, the Airlines for America letter said. For its part, the FAA has blamed the airlines for inducing thousands of employees to take early retirements or furloughs during the pandemic, despite federal aid. “People expect when they buy a plane ticket that they will get to their destination in a safe, efficient, reliable and affordable way,” the agency replied in response to the Airlines letter. for America. “After receiving $54 billion in aid during the pandemic to help save airlines from mass layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to have their expectations met,” the FAA said. With MAP